Category Archives: Crop Management

Attributes of Applying Fungicide – John Viertel

To say that it has been dry in my state, is an understatement! Today we are getting a bit of rain, and more is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. It is going to take 8 to 10 inches to get us back to normal and “bust” this year’s drought. Hope that it doesn’t all come at once!

One of our customers called last week with a success story. He had gotten some Max 72 SRN and Sugar E-Boost to fly on his corn with the fungicide application back in July. Evidently, his neighbor had also flown on some fungicide (with out Max 72) across the road. The neighbor’s corn was having standability problems. Our customer’s corn was standing almost perfectly, he was proud of it and is making plans for his aerial app next season, with more Max 72 and Sugar E-Boost!

One of the attributes of applying fungicide is better stress management by keeping the plant healthy for better late season standability. Getting the fungicide translocated throughout the entire plant is the key. Using SOIL SERVICE, INC. products (Soil Boost Plus, LandOil, Sugar E-Boost, Max 72 SRN) with the aerial application will enhance the effectiveness of the fungicide. In this case, it has really showed up.

If you are in an area where there has been some stress on you corn this season, and did, or didn’t apply a fungicide, get out and check on the stalk quality. You may want to get that combine out just a little sooner this year.

Don’t forget that the Farm Progress Show is coming in just two weeks. If you are planning on coming, our booth # is 757, we’ve moved, and there will be a whole new look to our booth. Stop and see us and ask about Max 72 SRN, aerial application, and all our other products. Hope to see you there!

John Viertel, MO Sales



Aerway Info – John Viertel


These pictures were taken a few years ago, when we were having a dry spell in central Missouri. Not as dry as it has been this summer, but still dry. There is a lot of pasture in Missouri that is going to have some type of forage planted into it for fall and winter forage. Since we got some rain yesterday, 7/29/18, it makes a lot of sense to use an Aerway to incorporate the seed that is getting sown. The Aerway in the picture above was set at 0 degrees. If a 2.5 degree setting was used, and the double rolling basket harrow on it, the Aerway would do a great job getting seed to soil contact. We have done this with cover crop seed for the last few years on our farm and have good success.

Running the Aerway, instead of drilling would give the pasture ground the following advantages:

  • Opens the soil to allow future rainfall to be absorbed into the soil instead of running off
  • Allows oxygen into the root zone
  • In pasture, where cattle have been, allows the nutrients from there manure into the root zone
  • Cuts into the roots of the grass, making it grow back faster and more vigorously

We have Aerways available for purchase and/or rental in sizes from 8 feet to 30 feet. So, if you are thinking about what to do to your pasture to help ease some of your forage requirements this fall, give me a call to talk about your options.

John Viertel

Assessing Your Nitrogen Management – Derek Porter

The corn crop in central Illinois is well past pollination with kernel fill now taking place. I love the period from tassel time to grain fill because the corn crop is telling us quite a bit about how well our fertility program is working, particularly as it pertains to nitrogen. Nitrogen management should almost always be at the forefront of everyone’s mind when growing corn because it’s usually the most costly and volatile nutrient that we apply. An excellent way to assess how well your nitrogen program is working for you is to go out in your field at pollination to 2-weeks after pollination and count the number of nitrogen deficient leaves. Nitrogen deficient leaves will start at the bottom of the plant and form a v-shape starting at the tip of the leaf and move down the mid rib. For every leaf that shows a nitrogen deficiency you can figure your about 10 units of nitrogen short. So, for example if your corn plants are showing an average of 3 leaves with a nitrogen deficiency, that equates to about 30 lbs of nitrogen short in the soil. The question then becomes did we apply enough nitrogen, or did we suffer a loss of nitrogen from leaching or denitrification? Unless we pull some nitrate and ammonia analysis from the field, this is a tough question to answer.

I will make note that the growers that split apply nitrogen seem to be showing less nitrogen deficiency post pollination than the growers that applied all their nitrogen up front regardless if a stabilizer was used or not. A good rule of thumb to follow when figuring how much nitrogen to apply at one time is for every unit of CEC, the soil will hold 10 lbs of nitrogen. If your soil has a CEC of 15, it should be able to hold 150 lbs of nitrogen at any one time. When assessing corn on corn, the amount of residue needs to be considered. High amounts of corn residue that’s high in carbon can cause nitrogen to be tied up in the soil by the microbes that are breaking down the corn stalk residue. One grower that I spoke with 2 weeks ago has a continuous corn on corn field that is exhibiting severe nitrogen deficiency particularly where the previous years corn residue is the heaviest. This grower uses minimal tillage, so he is leaving quite a bit of crop residue on the surface after harvest. In cases like this, I’m a big believer in broadcasting nitrogen such stabilized urea or UAN to help offset the amount of nitrogen that’s being tied up by the residues. This grower applied anhydrous ammonia as his main form of nitrogen which put most of his nitrogen below ground. Some of this nitrogen needed to be placed towards the surface to help feed the biology and it would have benefited to have some sulfur, sugar, biologicals, and some soluble calcium to further aid in the residue breakdown and help stabilize the nitrogen. At Soil Service we have our Nutrient Recycling Program (NRP) that has shown to work awesome in the fall and early spring to help manage crop residue. Our NRP program used in conjunction with some surface applied nitrogen also works well for managing cover crop residues.

For more information and ways to help manage your nitrogen program, give us a call and we will be more than happy to help.



       High Amount of corn residue can tie up nitrogen making it unavailable to the plant

Derek Porter CCA

Sales Manager Central Illinois



Clean Liberty Link Soybean Field – John Viertel

In an earlier posting, I showed a sprayer applying Liberty Herbicide to this field, using Soil Service, Inc. products with the Liberty Herbicide. The pictures showed the coverage on the beans and on the weeds. Well, I got time to finally get back to that field, and as you can see, the weeds are gone and there is a very nice, CLEAN, field.

If you look back at the post from late June, we used SOIL BOOST PLUS, LANDOIL, 2075 SRN, SUGAR E-BOOST, AND FOLIAR OPP in the Liberty Herbicide mix, which also included an insecticide and Select. There was no crop response to this mix, only dead weeds and grass. The beans at that time received a nutrient boost from the Foliar Opp and 2075 SRN. We really like this mix for Liberty Link Soybeans.

Pods are just starting to set, and a good rain (in the forecast for the next couple of days) would be very, very beneficial.


John Viertel, MO Sales

IL Corn Plot Update – Derek Porter

As we turn the calendar to June, some of the differences in our starter fertilizer plots are becoming evident. As most who use starter fertilizer can attest too, the plants with starter fertilizer tend to show more growth early on compared to where no starter has been applied. Our plots at the research farm are showing this to be the case again this year with an almost 8 inch difference in plant height where starter has been applied compared to where none was applied. Not only are the plants taller but the leaves are wider and longer which helps the plant to capture more sunlight and shade the row quicker. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of our plots throughout the season as well as timely tips to help you get the most out of your 2018 crop so stay tuned!

Derek Porter


Left- No Starter Fertilizer                                                           Right- 3.5 gallon 3-18-18-1 with 1 quart of zinc